This article is to assist new players in formulating their Arisen and main pawn build strategies. There are two good pages on the Wiki that explain character growth--Stats and Stat Growths. Character building can be complex even when using automated tools. The purpose of this article is to provide a baseline or frame of reference to assist in making specific decisions regarding character build. It also serves as a practical example.
This article discusses a method to get the maximum possible points (1958) spread across four specific growth areas of Attack, Magick Attack, Defense, and Magick Defense, with a secondary goal as Attack, Magick Attack, and Magick Defense each over 550 and Stamina over 3,500. The tradeoff for these specific goals is that physical Defense and HP are very low under the assumption that the character will be using evasion and/or perfect blocking as the primary means of physical defense.
The maximum total stats—the combined values of Attack, Magic Attack, Defense, and Magic Defense—is 1,958. This results in the lowest HP and Stamina combined total stats of 6,118. In other words, when the player maximizes the four stats, Stamina and Health points are left on the table. Conversely, if Health and Stamina is maximized, the player leaves potential stat points on the table.
Keep in mind that there is no perfect build because there are a wide variety of strategies and tactics the player may employ, e.g. playstyle and vocation preferences should determine decisions regarding one's appropriate build. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into the dynamics of character building so that players might have a better understanding of the automated tools provided at the Stat Growths page. Although the build presented here is a very effective character especially when matched with a style of play that employs evasion as the primary means of physical defense, different players have different criteria that would be better suited to their style of play. Players can always determine if they would like to increase that number, accepting that this will result in reductions to Attack, Magic Attack, Defense and/or Magic Defense.
For those who want the bottom line up front, this is the progression:
The stats this leveling plan ends up with at level 200 are the following:
- Health 2548
- Stamina 3570
- Attack 558
- Magick 566
- Defense 277
- Mag Def 557
- Robust Magick Defense
- Good Stamina.
- Weak physical Defense
- Extremely low Health (HP).
- The tedium it takes to build the character may also be viewed as a disadvantage, since vocations are limited to three out of the game's nine.
Goals and Objectives
The main purpose of this article is to provide the player with a baseline to use as a point of reference in creating a build that suits the players style of play. If building a character can be considered to putting together a jigsaw puzzle, the supplied methodology finds a figurative edge. It builds a character with the maximum possible combined Attack, Magick, Defense, and Magick Defense points of 1958. That number cannot be increased. The build can only be adjusted in two ways:
- The way points are allocated across Attack, Magick, Defense, and Magick Defense can be changed
- Attack, Magick, Defense, and Magick Defense can be decreased so that HP and/or Stamina can be increased
The goal, therefore, is to provide insight into the leveling up system without being prescriptive. It establishes some precepts relating to one specific optimum build but allows for variation depending on the player’s style of play. Regardless of whether the player accepts these precepts or not, the article should provide comprehensive coverage of the leveling system. Although the concepts are the same in Dragon’s Dogma and Dragon’s Dogma:Dark Arisen, there is some variation in the actual stats; this article addresses the stats in Dark Arisen. Making allowances for stat variation, the principles of character build are the same in the two games.
Delineating this build allows players to make adjustments to suit their particular style of play. For example, HP and Stamina can each be raised above the 4,000 mark. In order to do so, approximately 200 stat points, give or take, will have to be relinquished elsewhere. Magick Defense, for instance, is a good candidate to give up points. In this example, instead of having very strong Magick Defense above 550, the player would settle for adequate Magick Defense in the 350 Range in order to acquire very good Health and Stamina.
This article is not for players whose goal is to complete the game as quickly as possible, rather, it is for players who anticipate playing the post-game and open world aspects of the game exhaustively and rely on dagger-based evasion moves and/or perfect blocking for defensive maneuvers, otherwise, the tedious process to sculpt the character's stats provide diminishing returns. Players whose goal is to complete the game in two efficient playthroughs should simply cycle through their vocations of choice to experience the game's variety and acquire the unique augments the different vocations have to offer. It is possible to have a 'bad' build-- but that will only happen if the player fixates on one or two vocations whose stats growth do not coincide with the player's style of play.
On the other hand, players whose objectives include considerable play outside the main story of the game will be amply rewarded if they plan ahead for their optimum character. Moreover, since a key element of the game is pawn sharing throughout the community of players, an important goal may be to create a character the player would be proud to showcase in the community.
Henceforth, this article will refer to Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen as DD:DA and all statistics, unless otherwise noted, will refer to DD:DA.
Many RPGs incorporate a leveling system with a degree of randomness. In other words, the stat increases vary from player to player under the same circumstances. One player, advancing from level 1 to level 2 might gain a strength increase of 5, for example, while another player might gain a strength increase of 10 under exactly the same circumstances. This is not the case with DD:DA. Increases vary from vocation to vocation but, within each vocation, are set. For example, a mage character always gains an attack increase of 2 when advancing from level 1 to level 2. A strider character will always gain an attack increase of 3 when advancing from level 1 to level 2. A fighter character will always gain an attack increase of 4 when advancing from level 1 to level 2.
Given that stat increases when leveling up differ from vocation to vocation, choosing a vocation associated with a certain level becomes very important in shaping a character. Prudent players thus need to make some early decisions to optimize their player-character builds for the style they wish to employ in the latter stages of the game. To make those decisions some precepts must be established at the beginning of the game.
This article will refer to HP and Stamina as metrics. It will refer to Attack, Magic Attack, Defense, and Magic Defense as stats. For an agile character with high evasion, Stamina is more important than HP and the Attack, both physical and magical is more important than defense. For the agile character physical defense is less important than magical defense. The agile character can evade most physical attacks but will be vulnerable to an area of effect magic spell.
This type of decision hierarchy is important when determining how to approach a character build. A Fighter advancing from level 100 to level 101, according to the above precepts, provides an undesirable stat increase since Attack increases by only 1 while Defense increases by 3; Stamina increases by only 5 while HP increases by 15. In contrast, an Assassin advancing from level 100 to 101 will gain a stamina increase of 15 while HP increases a modest 5; Attack increases by 3 while Defense increases by 1.
For the purposes of this methodology, we will assume that the character will be an agile character to whom HP and physical defense are relatively unimportant. If the player is building a different type of character, like a tank, who is intended to absorb and not evade physical damage, significant adjustments would be made. The very different style of play should suggest what high statistics and metrics could be reduced so that the reductions could provide for increases in the relevant areas.
At the beginning of the game, players choose their initial vocation. There are only three vocations initially—Fighter, Strider, and Mage. Each vocation receives 280 stat points broken out as follows:
Beginning Character Stats by Vocation
Whereas the total stat points are the same for each vocation, the total metrics are not. Although each vocation receives the same 540 stamina points, the HP differs by vocation as follows:
Beginning HP and Stamina by Vocation
Although the Fighter starts out with the overall best totals, it is the Mage who progresses the fastest while the only vocations available are the first three. Stat progression for the first nine levels is as follows:
Stat Increases by Level up to Level 9
A character with the maximum possible statistics, therefore, will have to start out as a mage. Since, at the beginning of the game, there is no way of switching vocations, the approach will be to acquire the maximum points available to the Mage through level 9 while quickly advancing to a location where vocation changes are possible. This is because, as of level 10, the Mage is no longer the optimal vocation for stat building.
Concept of Play to Level 9
As soon as the Player obtains a Main Pawn and has positive control over the party, return to Cassardis. Rest at the Inn till night. Go to the pier and walk to the end. Instead of walking down to the beach, take a left and an immediate right to speak to the blonde woman at the end of the pier, Olra. Talk to her and accept her offer to take you to Bitterblack Isle. At Bitterblack Isle there is a lot to do. However, the purpose of this visit is to gain an introduction to Olra who can change vocations. In order to change vocations, 1,000 Discipline Points are required. Discipline points are rewarded as a percentage of experience iearned.
However, the percentage varies. The greatest return on experience points is when the death of the enemy awards 100 points of experience or fewer.
A good place to grind for discipline points is in the Spider room at the northeast corner of the Garden of Ignominy. While discipline points need not be specifically obtained in Bitterblack Isle, Spiders are easy opponents and will deliver a fair amount of experience points. If the player elects to use the spiders for discipline points, follow the red arrow in the Bitterblack Isle Pier Map to enter the Garden of Ignominy. Then, follow the red arrow in the map that depicts the entrance to the Garden of Ignominy. Take a direct route following the arrows because the enemies outside that route are difficult for a low-leveled party. Once the Spiders have been killed, if the player returns to Olra and sleeps a the bench next to Olra, the Spiders will respawn. The player can return to the Spider room or earn discipline points elsewhere.
Alternatively, the well in Cassardis next to the Rift Stone contains rats and bats that have a high ratio of discipline points to experience points, and similarly, they will respawn after one night's rest.
The player has a lot of flexibility in what to do before level 9 is reached. The fundamental issue to bear in mind is to acquire at least 1,000 DP before advancing to level 10 and to have returned to Olra at the Bitterblack Isle Pier. Arisen and the main pawn will then change their vocations to Sorcerer. The only weapon a sorcerer can equip is the Archistaff. It is therfore necessary to acquire two Archistaves and have them available in storage. The most expedient way to return is through the use of a Ferrystone. However, the player may be too early in story progression to be able to use Ferrystones. Nevertheless, it is easy to return to Bitterblack Isle without the use of a Ferrystone. Olra will be standing at the end of the pier at night and will transport players to Bitterblack Isle. If it is not night-time, simply rest at the Inn and Olra will return to the pier.
Upon attaining level 9, the player’s growth will look as follows:
Approach Olra and ask her to change both Arisen's and the main pawn's vocation to Sorcerer. Make any equipment changes required--most importantly, equip the Archistaves acquired for this vocation.
Concept of Play from Level 10 to Level 99
There is a lot more flexibility from level 10 onwards. Vocations will not have to be changed until level 99. Between levels 10 and 99, the Sorcerer has a distinct edge in stat growth. Looking at the table below, the Sorcerer gains a total of 13 stat points per level. All vocations other than the Magick Archer only increase 11 points per level. The Magick Archer increases by 12. As is to be expected, the high stat growth by level is matched by the lowest growth in metrics per level. The Sorcerer only gains 31 total points per level in metrics--16 in HP and 15 in stamina.
Players who are interested in the stat growth for all vocations may want to consult the stats growth page.
Our next change will be to Assassin at level 99. The Assassin is very versatile so players have a lot of choice in the weaponry and armor equipped by the Assassin. Without trying, players should have a very good selection of weapons and equipment in storage by the time they reach level 99. So, no special effort is required and players need not go out of their way to prepare for the switch. Additionally, players will probably want to experiment with the Assassin's numerous talents before deciding on an appropriate style of play.
Concept of Play to from Level 100 to Level 200
At level 99, this is how the character's stats would look:
Note that Attack and Defense are very low in comparison to Magic Attack and Magic Defense. We had resigned ourselves to low physical Defense; however, an objective was to acquire strong attack both physical and magic. Moreover, Stamina is only 22 points greater than HP and the precepts establish Stamina as the more important of the two metrics. The objectives during the next 100 levels are to balance out the character. From levels 100 to 200, all vocations have the same total stat growth of 4. Additionally, all vocations have the same metrics growth of 20. Since the current objectives are to compensate for low Attack and Stamina, the next vocation selected will be the Assassin who provides the highest Attack growth of 3 per level and the highest Stamina growth of 15 per level.
Note that the Assassin is only available to Arisen. The Main Pawn will require a different build that will not be able to balance with high attack to the same extent as the Assassin.
This is how the Assassin progresses for each level gained between levels 100 and 200:
The following table depicts that the objectives were met in terms of Attack, Magic Attack, and Magic Defense each being over 550. Furthermore, Stamina is over 3500. So, the stats growth of the Assassin successfully balanced out the low Attack and relatively low Stamina of the build at level 99. Most importantly, all possible 1,958 stat points are obtained:
Note that the success or failure to obtain all 1,958 stat points is determined at level 99. At level 99, the player has a combined total of 1558 stat points. The remaining 400 points will be earned regardless of what vocation or how many vocation changes are made between levels 100 to 200, so, the player is at liberty to adopt different vocations to tweak the outcome. Refer to the Stat Growths page for detailed information regarding the vocations.
Note, also, that the maximum combined HP and Stamina metrics is also determined at level 99. If the player decides to increase these metrics at the expense of the other stat points, measures that would bring that about must be taken prior to level 99.
Since the main pawn cannot use Assassin, another vocation must be used to balance the pawn. The two vocations with the highest attack of 2 are the Ranger and the Warrior. We will stick with our precept to emphasize magick defense over physical defense. That leads us to employ the Ranger vocation. The increases per level from levels 100 to 200 will look as follows for the main pawn:
The Ranger only provides a physical Attack increase of 2 every level compared to the Assassin's increase of 3. The Ranger provides an increase in Magic Defense every level while the Assassin provides no increase in magick defense. All other values are the same between the two vocations. Accordingly, the Main Pawn results at level 200 differ from the Arisen results at level 200 in these two areas. The Main Pawn will have an Attack of 458--100 less than that of Arisen. The main pawn will have a Magic Defense of 657 compared to 557 for the main pawn. The final results look as follows:
Attack and Magic Attack are not as balanced as they are in the Arisen build. If balanced is desired, adjustments would have to be made as the player optimizes the build.
Players should analyze the "Final Results" table bearing in mind that these are the final results for the methodology and not the final results for the players' characters. If there are stats or metrics not suited to the players' liking, they can easily be changed. The methodology employs only two vocation changes to simplify the process. The build is changed once from mage to sorcerer at level 9. It is changed a second and final time, at level 99, from sorcerer to assassin. Players can very easily substitute their own preferences in either of those two sections. For that matter, players can choose a different starting character. For example, those seeking a strong physical build will be drawn towards the Fighter's increased extra 40 points in starting HP as well as the 4 physical attack points per level.
Note also that changes can be made at any point. A player desiring Stamina of 4,000 could very easily trade off 30 sorcerer levels for 30 ranger levels between levels 100 and 199. The resulting mix of 50 sorcerer levels and 30 ranger levels could be acquired in any sequence and could be broken up into increments. The outcome would achieve a character with Stamina of 4,000 and with slightly higher physical attack and slightly lower magick attack than the build of the above methodology.
More extreme changes can be made. For example, a super sorcerer could be built where the vocation is never changed after level 9. This sorcerer would have the highest possible magick attack of 866 with very strong magick defense. HP and Stamina would be good but not excellent at slightly over 3,000 each. The tradeoff would come in the form of very weak physical attack and physical defense so the build would have to be supported by a style of play that does not rely on physical attack and defense.
The precepts employed by the above methodology assumed an agile character was required. Such a character would employ evasion as the primary defense technique and would not rely heavily on Physical Defense and HP. In the event, a player desires a character who deliberately seeks damage--a tank, a reverse methodology might be used. Instead of maximizing cumulative Attack, Magick, Defense, and Magick Defense, the player would maximize the HP/Stamina total with emphasis on HP. In this case, physical defense would also receive prioritization.
For those who want the bottom line up front, this is the progression:
- Level 1 to 200: Fighter
This build maxes out HP at 5550 and achieves the 8120 maximum combined total of HP and Stamina.
This is the other edge of our metaphorical jigsaw puzzle. It can be employed in the same manner as the first methodology. It serves a more specialized purpose than the previous approach but is of value to players requiring a strong physical defense presence.